Saturday, 28 May 2011

I Shall Always Remember

1.      Roorkee monsoons – for taking me, every time, to the beginning of four wonderful years

2.      The Meta wing – for showing me that not all people change
3.      The BC Dream – for coming true
4.      Watch Out News Agency – without which I’d still be typing in ‘Times New Roman’
5.      LitSecTM – for being the only group I haven’t been thrown out of
6.      Bone-chilling winters – for moongfali, coffee and rose-cheeked girls
7.      The slope – for letting speed thrill, in the days before the humps
8.      Numbers 62, 63 and 64 – and their occupants
9.      Kondy – for being my name

10.  Se7en – even if it’s on the second floor
11.  Comfortably Numb – for having been my favourite song for most of my college life
12.  Valentine’s Day – because it never came
13.  My old (Atlas) ‘Flame’ – for taking me to places where my legs could not
14.  Mussoorie – for being so close by
15.  Café Coffee Day – for a lot can happen over coffee
16.  Orchid Pharma & Chemicals Pvt Ltd  – my first internship
17.  The Grand Old Men mentors, if not anything else
18.  The Farjical engineers – for loving Fun more than I do

19.  Chelsea FC – for finding me so many new friends. And enemies.
20.  Cognizance 2010 – for helping me draw half a lakh out of a man who threw a two-thousand rupee cheque at me when I was in school
21.  The Formatting Days – which made me the diplomat I am today.
22.  Pro-Evolution Soccer – because it’s so bloody awesome
23.  iPod Shuffle – for always knowing what to play next
24.  Six Registration Cards – because I cannot forget them
25.  My CGPA – for being the roller-coaster which never went off the rails
26.  The original Krows and Helmet-head – for being who they are
27.  The Schlumberger days – “Money for nothing”

28.  The Newspaper man – who has tossed papers into my room unfailingly for three years
29.  Karan-Arjun in BR – which remains an eternal source of déjà-vu
30.  The Ganga canteen-wala (whose name I still don’t know) – who disarmed me with his smile, every time
31.  ‘Late’ Team-WONA – for being people I will love forever
32.  Delhi and Chandi Debates – for all the cute girls
33.  Old Monk – for coming at 35 Rupees a shot (RP)
34.  The Gym – for helping me put matter over mind
35.  My dying laptop – for staying alive
36.  EDC IITR – for being there through my fourth year
37.  Department of Chemical Engineering, IITR – which god-alone-knows-how is the best department of the country
38.  Spirited Fellows and Solani Nights – “To more of the same!”
39.  Chest-monster and the Robot – Madmen
40.  Gambit and the Camera-man – for sticking around
41.  Team Goa and the Goat – “Next time, Tito’s!”

42.  You, Blog.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A Box Among Other Things

Being the trunk broker that I've become in my final days on campus, it is only fair that I part with mine too. It became all the more important since mum keeps reminding me over the telephone: "Get rid of all your junk!" But the question which kept me dilly-dallying forever was just one: To sell or to give?

It only takes you a moment to come up with an answer to that one, actually. It's a response which comes to you as naturally as, "Mom, stop calling it junk! I've really gotten attached to each of these things I've used during my four years here!" You realize that you can never put a price tag on something with such great sentimental value, and since it's rather impractical to lug an elephantine aluminium trunk over 2000 kilometres, the rational way to go about things is to give it away. As of tonight, my trunk is owned by a lad named Aditya Gokhale.

One would think I'm stupid to post stories about cycles and trunks, but inanimate objects are powerful memory tools. While I often find it hopelessly difficult to shut my eyes and recall a face, the way these everyday possessions of mine bring people back to life is rather eerie. However, to be very frank, I didn't care much about this large ungainly object which inhabited one half of S7, Cautley Bhawan long before its very last moments.

I was shifting stuff off the lid so that I could empty its contents when I spotted the ink. Much like the Camlin ad for permanent markers, my handwriting stared back at me from three years back. I remember that day, outside the Cautley cloak-room, when, as a kid who had just put up a status message "25% complete", I was instructed to ink my name on the top for identification purposes.

Obedient that I was, I began writing my name. I followed it up with my enrollment number '070607'. And then, I wrote the following words:

B.Tech (M

My hand froze at that point as I realized what I had done. I'm rather superstitious, and I still say a prayer at the beginning of every exam I write. And superstition freaked me out that day as I realized I never should have started writing 'Metallurgical and Materials Engineering' in the first place - not when a possible branch change was in the offing! After considering striking it out, I decided that I'd much rather let it stay there, and I thought, 'one day I might look back at this and smile... and it will remind me of this day.'

Well, that day was today.

Saturday, 7 May 2011


On 23rd July 2007, I first set foot on Roorkee soil. Being the responsible maddu that I was, I telephoned the only R-person's number I possessed. Obviously, being a long-drawn maddu connection (cousin of friend of school-senior), the person in question was himself quite Maddu. I was with mum when I met Venkatesh Nandakumar outside the Saraswati Mandir some four years ago. And Venky told me the stories and the legends of the land. He also introduced me to the Velociraptor, who I came to know quite well during his years here.

Anyway, the two of them later informed me about how a first year is expected to behave. What they said, in nutshell, could be retold as: Be a proper Maddu who doesn't speak Hindi, wears the quintessential black and white shirt and trousers, and never looks at anything but his feet. And DON'T buy a bicycle.

To be quite frank, I was so terrified by his words that I almost sold my bicycle back home. But as time wore on, I realized that the distances were too much to be negotiated by foot. And so, filled with trepidation, I bought the black Atlas Flame which would become one of my closest companions in IIT Roorkee.

Having dinner early that evening, I decided it was dark enough to mingle inconspicuously with the campus environs. Cool autumn breeze blowing powerfully across one's face is motivation enough to up the speed. Pedalling furiously up a speed-breaker-less slope, I was greeted by the dazzling Central Library which was as new around these parts as I was. Overawed that I was by the sights that I encountered, I made a few wrong turns and didn't make a few right ones. And I ended up getting thoroughly lost.

'Transport Engineering' was the board that I stood in front of, and I didn't know what the hell it meant. And harbouring that perennial fear of being found-out, I decided not to ask anyone the route back, which only meant that my nerves took a tremendous beating. Naturally, I did find my way around eventually but these are  the very first memories I have with my bicycle.

Over the years, it helped me reach meetings only twenty minutes late and classes only five. It helped me climb the slope a million times, just so that I could enjoy my ride down. It helped me outrace packs of angry stray dogs and do countless other things. It is only ironic that, never having left my side for three-and-a-half years, it chose to get stolen this semester, thus robbing me of a chance to say goodbye.

Rest in peace, Cycle.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Lavender Girl

The decibel is upped, swallowing the still
In the burning lamps, red turns green
One thousand people palisade him, til’
He’s aware of none but the Lavender girl.

Standing her side, he watches her long
Until in her eyes, he finds his own…
A maudlin sigh, then with a smile so strong
She gazes at him through the cast-iron bars.

He has grown to love the way she laughs
And wishes she wouldn't do any of it now;
For when your world is being torn in halfs,
You cannot bear to listen to that voice.

As a monochrome man on grey cement earth,
Clumsily, he clutches the cold window grille
Black and white and colours without mirth
She reaches out but cannot touch his hand.

He opens his mouth so he can speak
But words don’t flow from a gated heart
Words for the brave, tears for the meek
He fights them back as the Lavender girl leaves.

Bow out with dignity, to himself he says
Kill all passion and restore peace:
He begins to erase their together-days
And erases a part of himself too.

The moment has passed, the train pulls away
Along the platform, he keeps up pace
Knocking over many an invisible man
As he wipes a tear off her face.

A million greys pile upon him
As he gasps and falters; seizes to run
He watches the train disappear dim
That Lavender shade is his no more.